Cleveland, Ohio, July 4, 2003 Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier will be at the front of the field for the Champ Car World Series first night road-course race in its history Saturday evening after the two Team Player's drivers qualified on Row 1...
Cleveland, Ohio, July 4, 2003 Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier will be at the front of the field for the Champ Car World Series first night road-course race in its history Saturday evening after the two Team Player's drivers qualified on Row 1 and 2 respectively for the 115-lap event.
Tracy, the provisional pole sitter, had a spin that brought out a red flag early in the final qualifying session Friday night, an incident that would have cost him his fastest time of the session. Combined with the fact that Tracy had already locked up a front-row position, Team Player's decided to have him remain in pit lane and save an extra set of tires.
As the qualifying session developed, Tracy managed to hold on to the pole until French rookie Sebastien Bourdais, with four minutes left, turned a fast lap of 58.365 seconds 4 one-hundredths better than Tracy's provisional clocking. Bourdais, who earned his fourth pole of the year, lowered it to 58.014 seconds on his next hot lap.
Carpentier, who had woes of his own in the same turn 4-5 area of the dust-slickened, 2.1-mile airport runway surface, had slipped to eighth on the grid before a tightrope-like performance (58.449 seconds, 129.713 mph / 208.752 km/h) on his final hot lap vaulted him to P3. Fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani had the seventh-fastest qualifying run and will start from the inside of Row 4.
While Tracy acknowledged that he would have liked to garner his third pole of the season, he added: "Team Player's did what it had to do on the first day of qualifying and we will start on the front row. When we got red-flagged, it took away our best time of the session, so I needed two good laps to stay on top. We opted to save our second set of tires. We were careful not to abuse our tires, and so far that strategy has worked to our advantage this season."
Carpentier said he was well aware that he needed to coax the maximum out of the car on his last hot lap. "I was at the limit on that last lap, and I did not make a mistake," he explained. "I actually pushed so hard that I went off a couple of times but, fortunately, I did not kill the engine."
Looking ahead to the race, of which he is the defending champion, Carpentier remarked: "This is the longest race of the season so far and this track is quite bumpy. It's going to be a tough one because we will have to deal with shadows on the track. We have to make it through corner one at the start of the race and once we can clear that hurdle, we should be able to score some valuable points."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Cleveland throughout the three days and evenings by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network at 11:00 p.m. ET on Saturday evening.
SERVICES PROVIDED FOR THE GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND
Results of Team Player's drivers' performances in practice, qualifying and the race will be sent out daily. Photos of Team Player's will be sent out on the CNW wire of Canadian Press, as well as to subscribers of our e-mail transmission service.
Interview clips of the Team Player's drivers are available at the end of each day's activities. You can download professional quality audio in MP3 or WAV by logging on to them by logging on to the website: http://w3.teamplayers.ca/newsmedia/2003